The 7 Best Ways to Celebrate Chinese New Year

It’s almost time for a little monkey business.

With the new Chinese year drawing in on 8th February, we’ve pulled together some of the best places across the county to eat, drink and have a downright good knees up this Chinese New Year....

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Be mesmerised at the Magical Lantern Festival in Chiswick, London

Chiswick House and Gardens is welcoming the UK premiere of the world-renowned Magical Lantern Festival. The mesmerising event is a spectacular installation of giant hand-sculpted lanterns taking every form, from life-sized flamingos to a 60-metre long dragon sprawled across the lake. Packed with activities for the whole family and live cultural staged performances, you’ll need to fuel up on the international cuisines available to really soak up the buzzing atmosphere.

Chiswick House and Gardens, Burlington Lane, London, W4 2RP; 5.00pm 3 Feb - 6 Mar 2016; £16, £10 children, £14 concs advance; £18, £12 children, £16 concs on the door

Newcastle Chinese New Year workshop

Get stuck in to authentic Chinese culture in celebration of the New Year with a day packed with food and learning experiences run by a group of passionate students. You’ll be thrown into making dumplings, learning useful Chinese greetings and be treated to stories behind Chinese food culture during the day. The exclusive event sells out fast, so book ahead!

Kitchen Studio, 1 Derwent Student, Blandford Square Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE1 4HZ GB; Saturday, 6 February 2016 from 2pm to 3.30pm; tickets £8

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Eat & Do in Chinatown, London 

On 14th February, there’s only one place you need to be - and that’s Chinatown.

Pull on your best bright costume, grab a homemade lantern and your favourite pair of socks and just wait for them to be knocked right off. From 10am, London’s annual Chinese New Year celebrations will be released upon us with a parade across Shaftesbury Avenue, boasting one of the most captivating ten-team lion dances across Europe. The strike of midday will bring acrobats, high-energy dance performers and breath-taking light shows. If all this fun leaves you a little peckish, luckily you’re in the no.1 spot for Chinese food in town, with special menus available throughout the 100-odd eateries of the area.

Chinatown, near Leicester Square, WC2H 7JS; starts at 10am

Chinese New Year at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Welcome in the Year of the Monkey with friends and family by getting creative at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. Try your hand at paper folding, watch martial arts demonstrations, taste teas and – for the spiritually inclined of you – learn all about your zodiac sign. Fit for the whole family, workshops will keep the little ones entertained while you browse the museum’s magnificent Eastern Art collection.

Queens Road, Bristol, BS8 1RL; 6-7 February 2016 11am - 4pm

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Join the party and parade in Newcastle

Get your glad rags on nice and early for the Newcastle Chinatown parade from 11am on 14th February. Based on and all around Stowell Street and Chinatown, the arrival of the New Year will be marked with amazing traditional performances – spectacular dragon, lion and unicorn dances will be held under the ornate Ceremonial Arch. Tuck into delicious Oriental food as you watch the madness of this family-friendly day unfold.

Chinatown, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, NE1 4YB; Sunday 14th February 2016 11am – 4pm

Dragonboat Festival in Birmingham

The incredible Dragonboat – the unrivalled boat of traditional Chinese design – deserves nothing less than a festival of its own. Thankfully, Birmingham is hosting the Dragonboat Festival to celebrate Chinese New Year, where crowds gather to see beautifully decorated boats race against one another. If you need any convincing, the event is one of the most well-established fundraising events in Birmingham, so you can sleep easy knowing all the fun you’re having is for a great cause.

Brindleyplace, Birmingham, United Kingdom, B1 2JF; Sunday 7 February 11am - 6pm 

Indulge in Dim Sum in Kingston

Treat your taste buds with locals’ favourite Naturally Chinese Restaurant in Kingston, London. Free of MSG, the authentic Chinese cuisine and dim sum offers a unique take on Chinese food. Armed with over 30 years’ food industry experience, the husband and wife duo pride themselves on fresh food and clean ingredients with no-nasties – they even have veggie and gluten-free options available.

59-63 Brighton Road, Surbiton, Surrey, KT6 5LR

By Lizi Woolgar